Presentation on theme: "Beneficial Boundaries: Legal Responsibilities of Trust Your responsibilities as a vestry member Presented by: Richard Wilson Diocese of Fond du Lac CFRT."— Presentation transcript:
Beneficial Boundaries: Legal Responsibilities of Trust Your responsibilities as a vestry member Presented by: Richard Wilson Diocese of Fond du Lac CFRT lead reviewer
“…the Vestry shall be agents and legal representatives of the Parish in all matters concerning its corporate property…” Canon I.14.2
Your responsibilities are affected by: Federal Law Wisconsin Law Local Law National Canons Diocesan Canons Parish By-laws Ethics Common sense
Fiduciary Duty A Fiduciary has a legal relationship of trust with another party A Fiduciary must act for the benefit of the other party
Fiduciary Duty Your actions must be for the benefit of the church, not yourself. You must act as a prudent man [person] would.
Fiduciary Duty The vestry and the vestry members have a fiduciary duty towards: Parishioners The Parish The Diocese The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society
The Vestry has responsibilities concerning: Finances Tax regulations Legal requirements Relationship with the priest
National canons require: Treasurers shall be bonded. There shall be books of account for satisfactory accounting. All accounts will be audited annually. A response to the audit will be filed with the Diocese. Buildings and their contents will be adequately insured. The Diocese of Eau Claire incorporates the national canons by reference (canon 38.1) The Diocese of Fond du Lac has similar canons (canon 4.1 and others)
Endowments And Bequests What are they for? What restrictions are on their use? May you use principal or only income? Does the church have proper records of them?
Are you taking reasonable precautions to protect the church’s money and other assets? You have a fiduciary duty to make sure it is not being stolen or misused. Are you confident in the accuracy of the Parochial Report? When you approve the Report you are stating that you are!
All parish property is held in trust for the diocese. All diocesan (and parish) property is held in trust for the DFMS. The vestry may not alienate property without approval from the diocese.
TAXES The IRS holds people with oversight – i.e. the treasurer and the vestry – responsible for tax compliance.
Payroll Taxes: Clergy payrolls are unique Clergy payrolls are complex Clergy payrolls are often not understood Many professionals make errors when working with clergy pay
Payroll Taxes: Lay employee taxes are similar to non- church Churches are exempt from unemployment taxes Know the difference between employee and contractor Consider using Episcopal Payroll Service
Charitable contributions reporting: Are seldom required by the IRS for the church. Required by the donor to get the deduction. Failure to comply brings penalties to the donor, not the church. If the church doesn’t provide documentation, the donor might become a former donor.
Sales tax: Are you required to collect it? Property tax: Are you engaged in activities which could jeopardize your exemption?
Other legal concerns: Are your facilities safe? Do they meet health, fire, and building codes? Have you posted ?
Moral and Ethical responsibilities Leaders need to support the parish with: Treasure Time Talent The parish is an ongoing entity.
Canonical relationship with your priest
Sec. 13. Dissolution of the Pastoral Relation (a) Except upon mandatory resignation by reason of age, a Rector may not resign as Rector of a parish without the consent of its Vestry, nor may any Rector canonically or lawfully elected and in charge of a Parish be removed there from by the Vestry against the Rector's will, except as hereinafter provided. Canon III.9.13
Sec. 5. Rectors and Priests-in-Charge and Their Duties (a) (1) The Rector or Priest-in-Charge shall have full authority and responsibility for the conduct of the worship and the spiritual jurisdiction of the Parish, subject to the Rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer, the Constitution and Canons of this Church, and the pastoral direction of the Bishop. (2) For the purposes of the office and for the full and free discharge of all functions and duties pertaining thereto, the Rector or Priest-in-Charge shall at all times be entitled to the use and control of the Church and Parish buildings together with all appurtenances and furniture, and to access to all records and registers maintained by or on behalf of the congregation. Canon III.9.5
PEOPLE What are the vestry’s responsibilities for people?
Boundaries? What boundaries? Relationships Separation Conduct Misconduct must be reported.